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  1. #1
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    Default Was Batman Beyond shaped by The Mask of Zorro?

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    About a year or so before the debut of the Batman Beyond cartoon, Amblin Entertainment released the film The Mask of Zorro. Both feature a badly-aging hero passing his disguise on to an (originally in BB's case) unrelated young successor from the wrong side of the tracks, and a sometimes contentious relationship between the mentor and the protege.

    Has anyone heard anything that suggests Batman Beyond was inspired by The Mask of Zorro? Given that Douglas Fairbanks' film The Mark of Zorro is cited as one of the influences on Batman's creation and early development, it would make for an interesting symmetry.

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    Old school comic book fan WestPhillyPunisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewGod View Post
    images.jpg

    About a year or so before the debut of the Batman Beyond cartoon, Amblin Entertainment released the film The Mask of Zorro. Both feature a badly-aging hero passing his disguise on to an (originally in BB's case) unrelated young successor from the wrong side of the tracks, and a sometimes contentious relationship between the mentor and the protege.

    Has anyone heard anything that suggests Batman Beyond was inspired by The Mask of Zorro? Given that Douglas Fairbanks' film The Mark of Zorro is cited as one of the influences on Batman's creation and early development, it would make for an interesting symmetry.
    That's an interesting theory you presented, one that does have merit. While I've never heard anything to back up your supposition, considering how long it probably takes to create an animated series, going from brainstorming sessions, to storyboards, to producing the animation to the finished show appearing on a TV screen, Batman Beyond might well have been in the pipeline at Warner Brothers before The Mask of Zorro. But that's just a dumb guess on my part.
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  3. #3
    Extraordinary Member Güicho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewGod View Post
    images.jpg

    About a year or so before the debut of the Batman Beyond cartoon, Amblin Entertainment released the film The Mask of Zorro. Both feature a badly-aging hero passing his disguise on to an (originally in BB's case) unrelated young successor from the wrong side of the tracks, and a sometimes contentious relationship between the mentor and the protege.

    Has anyone heard anything that suggests Batman Beyond was inspired by The Mask of Zorro? Given that Douglas Fairbanks' film The Mark of Zorro is cited as one of the influences on Batman's creation and early development, it would make for an interesting symmetry.
    I would say yes!



    As well, I think Batman Beyond also directly owes just as much to Phantom 2040 which had many similar themes and visual style.
    https://i.imgflip.com/uxwzg.gif
    https://i.imgflip.com/uxwxk.gif


    Although as you point out, there were plenty of parallels between the legacy aspect in Mask of Zorro, and Batman Beyond which followed almost on it's heels.

    Zorro has been a legacy character passing down the name to later gens. before the Phantom. The second Fairbanks Zorro movie 1925 was the Son of Zorro (father and son even fight side by side)
    There were several Republic Zorro serials which also featured legacy characters, from his direct descendants to those inspired by him, taking up the name/mantle.

    Around the same time the Phantom appeared in comics in the movie serials was Zorro Rides Again's James (Santiago) Vega a "modern" Zorro , the great grandson of Diego, fighting mobsters and racketeers, on city roof tops, swinging from buildings, chasing automobiles, dodging tommy gun bullets, using revolvers, and racing to his black sedan bellow, driven by his loyal manservant Renaldo (descendant of Bernardo). ...(all before Batman.

    First appearance 1937


    First appearance 1939


    Often the older films are cited, but Batman first appearance seems to follow on the heels of the modern Zorro.

    Mask of Zorro had as pointed out the unique aspect of having the aged, cane wielding, retired Diego, training the young upstart.
    Other origin parallels are the main antagonist both to Diego and Wayne (Powers/Montero) is obsessed with owning/taking over everything the other has.
    Meanwhile their right-hand-man (Mr. Fixx/Capt Love) is responsible for killing the new young upstart heroes family member ( Alejandro's brother/Terry's father) they both seek justice, and it's the older retired hero who at first contentiously, and then with their help eventually guides them to pursuing justice, giving them the means and their blessing to carry on the mantle.

    These are pretty common tropes though.

    I think the recent Ant-Man takes another page from Mask of Zorro, again we see the young upstart (Rudd/Banderas) hero steal(take for a test run) the suit, but also in that the older retiring hero (Douglass/Hopkins), has a daughter (Lilly/ZetaJones) who he is trying to protect, who is also in danger of being swayed towards the main nemesis side (Cross/Montero) who has "taken" everything from him.
    He (Douglass/Hopkins) recruits the new young upstart, who is also hunted by the law and looking for a reason to go on the right path.
    He eventually gives his blessing not only for the young new hero to carry on the mantle/legacy, but to his daughter as well, who he feared he had lost (but she now knows the truth of why he had to protect her), in the end he gains them both! And his legacy lives on through both of them into the "future".
    Last edited by Güicho; 07-26-2020 at 12:16 PM.

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    Let's not forget that Batman has always been very much shaped by Zorro, ever since his first appearance.

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    Good post Guicho. The design style and show premise seems more inspired by Phantom 2040 yes. That was a hell of a show.

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    Extraordinary Member Güicho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carabas View Post
    Let's not forget that Batman has always been very much shaped by Zorro, ever since his first appearance.
    You are right, although I don't think anyone forgot that, it's pretty well known that amongst others the Shadow(whose story Finger & Kane cribed) , Holmes, the Phantom, The Bat (film), Zorro, etc, and much of what was popular at the time helped as you say shape Batman, or rather it goes without saying at this point.
    That Zorro has actually been worked into Batman's origin as an influence has become canon , speaks the most to that.



    What might be less known (or contended) is how much of a legacy character, inspiring future Zorros, that Zorro was from almost the start.
    Often when presented with the idea of a modern or future Zorro, i've seen people balk - "now they are just copying the Phantom, or Batman Beyond" some who think the Zorro legacy aspect only began with (Hopkins/Banderas) in Mask of Zorro.
    Yet as pointed out this goes way back to the second Fairbanks Zorro movie 1925 the Son of Zorro, well before the Phantom...
    (1925)

    And was carried into the Zorro Republic serials which had future - (then modern) legacy Zorros, again even one already working in the then modern City, along with all the other pulp heroes, well before Batman existed. .

    (1937)

    I think this aspect is a little less known, it may not just have been the classic Zorro who influenced Batman, but also the pulpy/noir "modern" american Zorro of the time- , James (Santiago) Vega, railroad tycoon, has all the classic Zorro tropes, , secret lair, manservant, etc. but actually has the modern black car, and operates for a stint in the city, swinging from buildings, and fighting mobsters with modern weapons, etc.
    Last edited by Güicho; 06-18-2020 at 07:58 AM.

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    Got to say that as a total Phantom mark and longtime Zorro reader I can`t say I`ve crossed paths with that aspect of the earlier Fox mythology. The legacy aspect is so engrained in the core Phantom that If someone asked me I would swear that`s where the fad started.

    This is beautiful info I knew nothing about. Wow.
    Last edited by Aioros22; 11-30-2015 at 07:19 PM.

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    Astonishing Member HsssH's Avatar
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    This thread was very informative. Yeah, I have nothing else to add.

  9. #9
    Extraordinary Member Güicho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aioros22 View Post
    Got to say that as a total Phantom mark and longtime Zorro reader I can`t say I`ve crossed paths with that aspect of the earlier Fox mythology. The legacy aspect is so engrained in the core Phantom that If someone asked me I would swear that`s where the fad started.

    This is beautiful info I knew nothing about. Wow.
    Not to discount the Phantom legacy aspect, as you say it is ingrained into the core of the character and origin. And is what he's become known for.
    Zorro still not so much, it is there though.

    As far as the Mask of Zorro and Batman Beyond legacy parallels, I think the OP is right to point them out; and as Carabas suggests, how Zorro helped shape Batman has become pretty much a given.
    The "new" Superhero movie out that year before BatmanBeyond came out was Mask of Zorro.


    The Young Acolyte about to get his ass kicked
    Enter the Old Master.
    1998
    When the pupil is ready, the Master will appear...
    1999
    Both built on similar story beats:
    The defeated young acolyte has no means to exact vengeance for his lost family member...
    Lives Recklessly, He's about to get his ass kicked...
    Enter the old "master", (who sees himself in the same) to train and guide him...
    ... and the novices' whole world about to open up.


    To see some really fun parallels, someone did a Batman Beyond - Mask of Zorro mashup, although they play pretty loose with the character analogues, the parallels are highlighted pretty well.
    Awesome fun vid....
    Last edited by Güicho; 07-26-2020 at 11:31 AM.

  10. #10
    Extraordinary Member Güicho's Avatar
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    A bit OT but I like this thread.

    Another fun potential nod into the animated U maybe the lightning silhouettes imagery, while a common enough trope, it was as far as I know never really associated with Batman . If anything lightning was more a Shazam theme.

    Until Frank Miller's epic DKR cover, and the famous flash back to the night he watches Zorro leading to his symbolic "baptism" a sequence of lightning and rain culminating in him being "born again" as creature of the night.

    Miller being the one who reinforced Zorro as the movie/character by which the young Wayne reinvented himself, really drove the imagery to where the lightning silhouettes is now heavily associated with Batman.

    The original DKR cover may have just been another huge nod/homage chaneling the classic Zorro Disney opening, and Bruce Timm and co. taking it one step further.




    More, towards the end of DKR, .. after a nuke wipes out any electronics and gadgetry, plunging Gotham into the past, he's forced to revert to the rawest form of the dark/nocturnal animal totem inspired archetype-

    The one that inspired him as a kid. ...reemerging from the cave, horse and all, lightning striking riding through a Gotham plunged into the dark. https://i.pinimg.com/originals/5e/a3...f4153910ef.jpg..

    And then again in DKSA he reminds us "...leaves his mark ...must mean something to him" http://i.imgur.com/W8GmsSX.jpg
    Last edited by Güicho; 07-26-2020 at 12:24 PM.

  11. #11
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    The Mark of Zorro is in the public domain, so it seems to be OK if they copied it.

    I'm looking forward to Batman entering the public domain.

    http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/Zorro

  12. #12
    Extraordinary Member Güicho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trey Strain View Post
    The Mark of Zorro is in the public domain, so it seems to be OK if they copied it.
    Copied?
    Don't think anyone here suggested copied.
    Being influenced by, shaped by, paying homage etc, (regardless of public domain) is "OK", none of that means copied, there is a difference.
    Last edited by Güicho; 07-26-2020 at 11:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Güicho View Post
    Copied?
    Don't think anyone here suggested copied.
    Being influenced by, shaped by, paying homage etc, (regardless of public domain) is "OK", there is a difference.
    It's fine if they used it is any way at all. They have as much right to use it as to use any Batman story.

  14. #14
    Extraordinary Member Güicho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trey Strain View Post
    The Mark of Zorro is in the public domain, so it seems to be OK if they copied it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trey Strain View Post
    It's fine if they used it is any way at all. They have as much right to use it as to use any Batman story.
    I think your conflating or co-opting what I'm saying into something else, I never said copied, and wouldn't use that word to describe any of the above, they didn't.
    And I never suggested they had a right to copy.
    They didn't.
    I only spoke of influence and inspiration and parallel themes. you took that in a completley different direction.
    As far as rights?

    I'm no expert, and hopefully someone here can explain this better than I can, but I believe it's more nuanced than what you claim.

    Just because an original work has entered "public domain" does not automatically mean that certain aspects derived from it aren't still protected by by the rights holders McCulley / Gertz Zorro Production Inc.'s trademarks and other things they own.
    For example you may be able to now re-publish and sell your own exact copies of the (1919)Curse of Capistrano (I believe several publishing houses do) , and I think the second (1920)Zorro story arc published in Argosy is also available. As well as copy, and sell, your own DVDs of the original (1920)Fairbanks Mark of Zorro.
    But that doesn't automatically mean you can make new material based on what the character has become and has been marketed by ZPI.
    ZPI still owns rights to certain material and ideas derived from those original works, including certain names, the look of things/characters, and visuals and concepts.
    That also includes contemporary material they have produced, like for example The Mask of Zorro with Sonny/Amblin which is what the OP is talking about, or the Allende Novel they produced, or the current Dynamite characters and stories, etc.., it's not just "OK if they copied" any of that, and you don't just have the right to "use it "any way at all" as you claim.
    ZPI still holds certain rights and they still licence out the character.
    Last edited by Güicho; 07-26-2020 at 12:31 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Güicho View Post
    I'm no expert, and hopefully someone here can explain this better than I can, but I believe it's more nuanced than what you claim.

    Just because an original work has entered "public domain" does not automatically mean that certain aspects derived from it aren't still protected by by the rights holders McCulley / Gertz Zorro Production Inc.'s trademarks and other things they own.
    For example you may be able to now re-publish and sell your own exact copies of the (1919)Curse of Capistrano (I believe several publishing houses do) , and I think the second (1920)Zorro story arc published in Argosy is also available. As well as copy sell your own DVDs of and broadcast the original (1920)Fairbanks Mark of Zorro.
    But that doesn't automatically mean you can make new material based on what the character has become.
    ZPI still owns rights to certain material and ideas derived from those original works, including certain names, the look of things/characters, and visuals and concepts.
    That also includes contemporary material they have produced, like for example The Mask of Zorro with Sonny/Amblin which is what the OP is talking about, or the Allende Novel they produced, or the current Dynamite characters and stories, etc.., it's not just "OK if they copied" any of that, and you don't just have the right to "use it "any way at all" as you claim.
    ZPI still holds certain rights.
    You're correct on all counts. I'm not disputing what you say. They can use the early stuff that's now in the public domain but they have to be careful not to use any stuff that's been added to that by the copyright holders.

    The same will hold true when Superman, Batman and Mickey Mouse enter the public domain. In the beginning, just the earliest material will be available for use. If Marvel wanted to put out a Superman comic, they could take the very earliest stuff and start building their own mythos based on that. The later material would very gradually become available to them.

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